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Warmer temps in Montana could lead to burst pipes, officials warn

Posted at 4:05 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 18:28:58-04

BOZEMAN – With the weather warming up, frozen pipes may not be as much of a worry anymore, but there’s another concern to keep an eye out for.

“We have seen this year more frozen water services than we have seen in the past 10 to 15 years,” observed Bozeman Water and Sewer Superintendent John Alston.

Many found themselves with no water and frozen pipes this winter, and the machines that thaw out those frozen pipes have had quite the workout in the past few weeks.

“What this unit does is it takes hot water and through an electric heater pulsates water through this nozzle here, then this is the return line so the water is continually going through the heater and pulsating,” Alston demonstrated.

Meanwhile, Alston says the pipes in the ground will most likely take four to six weeks to thaw. And as they do start to thaw, there’s the possibility they can break.

“The frost is very deep and what happens when it starts to warm up, the frost is going to be driven even deeper,” Alston said.

“And so the ground is moving. Our newer pipes, they can handle that fairly well, but our older cast iron pipes are brittle and can snap,” he added.

As far as your home goes, making sure the water is moving everywhere in your home can prevent the pipes from freezing when we do have cold temperatures and then thawing quickly when it warms back up.

“Go through your house — especially areas of your house that you normally don’t go in, a spare bathroom, whatever — and turn on the water and see if you have water,” Alston said.

“If you don’t, we have a frozen pipe and as they start to thaw out, they can break and create a lot of water damage,” he added.

Alston also said people should make sure to know where the water shut off is just in case a pipe does break.

Reporting by Emma Hamilton for MTN News